Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Summer Vacation or Funemployment?: Miss Eyre Ponders

Well, in a few short days, pink slips are going out. Or maybe not. Who the hell knows? Certainly not some chapter leaders, who are advising their members that all teachers with less than seven years in the system are being laid off. This sounded like absolute nonsense when I first heard it, and I was glad when a trusted colleague told me that it was indeed not the way things are going to work.

Nevertheless, at least the threat of layoffs remains. I don't know how afraid I should be. The contract doesn't tell me much. I'm not brand-new, but I'm near the bottom of my school's seniority list. I have no idea where I stand in terms of citywide seniority. I figure I should at least not book my summer vacation until Friday. Other than that, though, I don't know, and no one else seems to know either.

I have to admit that, since I became a teacher, I never ever considered getting laid off. For one thing, in my first miserable year or two, if anyone suggested that they wanted my job, I would have laughed in their face and let them have it. Then, once I grew to actually like my job and not suck at it, it just never occurred to me. My classes are at or near contractual maximum. My school is at capacity and other schools nearby are over theirs. Layoffs? That's what happens when there isn't enough work to go around. Over at the Morton School, the kiddies aren't teaching themselves, and there are a lot of them.

So at the end of this three-day weekend, I have to admit that I'm still a little confused about what's going to happen when and if the layoffs actually transpire. Will the ATRs land back in classrooms? Will my summer vacation stretch out into one long span of funemployment, since I have no idea what I would do if I wasn't teaching? I'd come up with something, I suppose, but, perhaps without even realizing it, I came to believe that I'd be teaching forever.

And, most obviously, what happens to the kids with several thousand fewer teachers? You don't have to tell me, really; I imagine we're talking, basically, larger class sizes and fewer "extras" (that aren't really "extras"). I suppose I'm still shocked that this doesn't seem like more of a priority, that families don't seem outraged, that lawmakers aren't working around the clock to avoid it.

It's going to be a long week. Fortunately, we're now less than 4 weeks away from summer vacation. (Or funemployment.)

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